#POCMedalWatch: ‘The Simones’ Redefine Olympic History With Gold Medals

By Sameer Rao Aug 12, 2016

Two Black Olympians with the same first name made their own respective history at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last night (August 11). We honor them, alongside two other recent Team USA medal winners, in today’s #POCMedalWatch.

Simone Manuel, Swimming
NBC’s racist and sexist erasure couldn’t stop the world from recognizing Manuel’s greatness. Having already won a silver medal, Manuel took home a gold one with a victory in the women’s 100m freestyle swimming competition. The first African-American woman to win an individual swimming event put her victory in the context of ongoing anti-police violence activism. "It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality," Manuel said about her victory to USA Today. "This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory."

Simone Biles, Gymnastics
Biles won another gold medal in the women’s individual all-around gymnastics competition. CNN noted that she is the first woman in 20 years to win back-to-back world and Olympic all-around honors. "I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles," she resolutely told CNN, enshrining her greatness in American Olympic history.

Ryan Lochte, Swimming
Lochte, whose mother hails from Cuba, won a gold medal in the men’s 4x200m swimming relay. This is Lochte’s 12th Olympic medal. 

Nico Hernández, Boxing
Kansas native Hernández, who honors his Latino heritage with a dual-Mexican and American flag tattoo on his back won a bronze medal in the men’s light fly 49g boxing semifinals. 

These new medals added to Team USA’s 38 medals overall—16 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze—and #POCMedalCount’s 13 medals.

View the previous #POCMedalWatch winners here.